Taronga Western Plains Zoo’s female Asian Elephant, Porntip and three Black Rhinoceros were treated this week by a specialist veterinary dentist, Dr Gerard Steenkamp, from South Africa.
Elephants get numerous sets of teeth in their lifetime. Porntip had a molar that hadn’t shed properly and was impacting the new tooth coming through, causing some dental disease in the tooth.
Dr Steenkamp worked alongside the Zoo’s veterinary team and keepers removing the impacted tooth. Porntip has recovered well from the procedure and is eating normally.
Like horses, Rhino’s teeth need to be checked regularly. Three of our Black Rhinos received a routine dental check up and clean, while our older female Kalungwizi needed some sharp points to be filed down.
Animals are like humans in that they can have dental issues. If left untreated dental problems in any animal can have a detrimental effect on the animal’s long term health and well being.